By the time Broad Street's trees are fully green again, Richmond County schools should be setting up a main office somewhere in the vicinity.
The school system will get a study later this month explaining how much office and parking space it needs to combine four departments into one complex in the downtown area.
"And then we'll get busy looking," Superintendent Charles Larke said Friday.
"I hope to be in the position to start negotiating for a site this spring."
The system wants to consolidate its Heckle Street, Lake Forest Drive, Lumpkin Road and Katherine Street offices on Broad or Telfair streets to save travel reimbursements employees now get for driving back and forth between buildings.
The school board's cramped meeting room also warrants a move to a larger complex, Dr. Larke said.
There are no sites already on the system's shopping list, Dr. Larke said, although he said he has considered the former bank building that was the temporary federal courthouse, as well as the old Davison's department store building, also on Broad Street.
The downtown area is "our first choice" for the new offices, said Dr. Larke, who acknowledged there is no second choice locale.
"Some of those old, vacated department stores downtown or some of the banks" are officials' targets, the superintendent said. "But we haven't done any serious looking."
The system's central offices are located in 23,500 square feet of a converted horse stable at 2083 Heckle St.
The complex on Lake Forest Drive, a cluster of white, wooden buildings housing everything from public safety to guidance, uses 57,200 square feet.
Staff development, curriculum and program development employees are housed in 7,650 square feet at 804 Katherine St. Data processing, architectural services, construction and vocational education offices, at 2025 Lumpkin Road, use 7,150 square feet.